Red Clydeside: A history of the labour movement in Glasgow 1910-1932


Fascism: it's history and significance, 1924

by Plebs League

image from Red Clydeside collection

Prior to the formation of the British Union of Fascists (BUF) in 1932 there was a number of fledgling British fascist and anti-semitic organisations in existence, these included 'The British Brothers League' established in 1902 and also 'The Britons' set up in 1919. After the 1917 October revolution in Russia, many right wing politicians tried to equate the rise of Communism and the Communist Party with the Jews and attempted to discredit both. This attitude gave ammunition to form other fascist and anti-semitic groups, including The Imperial Fascist League and The British Empire Union among others.

The British Union of Fascists was an amalgamation in 1932 of Sir Oswald Mosley's 'New Party' and several small fascist groups. Oswald Mosely had a chequered political past prior to his leadership of the BUF, he had been both a Tory and Labour member of Parliament. Considered by many to be an outstanding Orator, he was widely tipped to be a future Prime minister. However, he became disillusioned with the established political parties and after his 'New Party' failed to get any of its 25 candidates elected into Parliament in the 1932 elections he turned to Fascism.

It has often been said by many British Jews that the role of the CPGB in combating the rise of Mosely and the BUF during the 1930s was a pivotal one. The CPGB influenced anti-fascist feeling in a wide number of groups who joined the struggle against Mosely and the CPGB at this time had a national Jewish Committee, many of whom were very close to their community. The CPGB also produced articles and leaflets in Yiddish, which helped to enforce the belief within the Jewish community that the CPGB was the only party that was actively fighting fascism and anti-semitism.

Source: Bissett Collection, Glasgow University Special Collections